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Black Week - Powerful IT threat against both companies and consumers

Henrik Hammarstrom in the industry in 2023
Henrik Hammarstrom in the industry in 2023

In the same week that Black Week becomes increasingly important for Swedish companies and consumers, the connected cyber threats also increase. "There is an attack every eleven seconds," warns Henrik Hammarström at GlobalConnect, which gives tips to both companies and consumers to protect themselves against hackers.

With an expected turnover of 8.7 billion, the Black Week trade is one of the most decisive weeks for Swedish retailers, consumers and hackers. For retailers, many of whom have had a challenging year, the week represents a chance for recovery. At the same time, it makes them attractive targets for hackers who demand ransom to regain control of their websites. A few minutes of a compromised, crashed or slow website may result in significant financial losses and damage to the brand. This year has seen an increase in IT attacks against Swedish companies compared to previous periods.

“Black Week is peak season for hackers and fraudsters. They know that customers are looking for deals and flood the market with fake offers. It's a real threat, and unfortunately many fall victim to it," says Henrik Hammarström, manager at the IT and telecommunications company GlobalConnect.

Despite significant investment in security systems in recent years, companies remain vulnerable. One of the fastest growing causes of cybercrime is staff negligence. Henrik Hammarström therefore emphasizes the importance of training the staff.

“Being human is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Many use the same password for all logins, use the work computer for private activities and quickly dismiss security warnings. Companies have an obligation to reduce the opportunity for individual employees to expose the company to risks," says Henrik Hammarström.

GlobalConnect it industry

Shopping online has become increasingly common, and according to Postnord, 77 percent of Black Week purchases are made online. It has opened up more opportunities for cybercriminals. One of the favorite methods is to send emails with enticing offers. A good guideline is to be extra cautious if an offer seems too good to be true.

“The offers often appear to come from credible senders, but if you give out your account details, it can be a costly affair. If you use your work email, the risks increase even more, because hackers can then access your employer," warns Henrik Hammarström.

Ahead of this year's Black Week, Henrik Hammarström and GlobalConnect have compiled tips for both companies and consumers to minimize the risk of being affected by cyber threats.

5 Tips for Companies:

  1. Prepare for Rush – Far in Advance: Make sure the infrastructure can handle the load when many people shop.
  2. Test Continuously: Regular testing reveals limitations and weaknesses in the system.
  3. Safe Collaborations: External solutions in the business ecosystem make you vulnerable.
  4. Create Backup System: Modern solutions that cannot be easily deleted simplify the cleaning of servers and rapid recovery after an attack.
  5. Prepare and Train Your Team: Attacks usually occur through unwitting employees.

Tips for Consumers:

  1. Use Password Manager or Unique, Regularly Change Passwords: Passwords should always contain letters, numbers and symbols.
  2. Update Your Antivirus Program.
  3. Be Careful with Email Offers: During shopping holidays, many offers come via email. Instead of clicking on the links, visit the website directly and look for the offer.
  4. Shop on Websites with Known Payment Methods: Be wary of websites that request information to “save for next time”.
  5. Be Skeptical of Very Low Prices.
  6. Avoid Using Your Main Card: Use a card with minimal funds and do not link it to your salary account.
  7. Review the Company You Intended to Buy From: Read reviews from other customers and/or reports.
  8. Block Your Card Immediately and Report to the Police If You Are Affected.
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